Smartphones: Have They Become an Addiction?

From the moment people wake up in the morning, they are attached to their phones. They are constantly surfing the web sharing videos, posting pictures, texting and updating their status on social media. According to International Digital Times, a report from Locket; an app that gives users a personalized lockscreen according to their habits and interests, individuals check their smartphones more than 100 times a day, and many of them will accept that they are addicted to their phones.

Smartphones are mostly used for checking social media and texting, not making calls. According to Tech Radar, making calls on these cellphones is the fifth most popular use of the device. The need to be connected through social media is very important, especially among teenagers and young adults. Users of smartphones feel socially disconnected if they cannot relate to topics talked about over Facebook and Twitter accounts. People constantly share videos that go viral, trending memes and hashtags over the internet.

Smartphones have also become an addiction because they give people what they need right in the palms of their hands. Many individuals’ use their phones as an alarm clock, making it the first object that they use it the morning and the last one that is seen before heading to bed. Many users download applications to get notifications on the latest news, stay up to date on what their friends are doing, and even share their location. Users also use it as their primary navigation system, and many do not even own a watch anymore as their phone can give them the time with just a swipe or click of a button.

In addition, smartphones have trained people’s brains. A person can set their social media accounts to make a noise or vibrate every time someone comments, or likes a picture or status. Emails are constantly popping up on the screen, and even a small light blinks when there is a notification pending. This is similar to Pavlov’s dog experiment. The scientist noticed how his dogs salivated every time they saw food, and conditioned them to learn that every time he wore a lab coat or rang a bell, food would be on its way. This is comparable to how smartphones are constantly giving people the satisfaction that if it blinks or makes a noise, something is waiting and they must check it.

People are also stimulated by the likes and comments other users make on their social media accounts. It gives them a sense of gratification that others are interested in their daily lives. This makes users want to constantly check their phones and get involved through social networks. In a mini questionnaire to users of smartphones given through Facebook, replies were seen posted within the first hour. Individuals expressed how they use their cellphones within just a few minutes of waking up to check text messages and social media accounts. Smartphones have become such an addicting device that many people cannot even fathom that thought of not having theirs with them at all times. Antonio Marquez, a Galaxy S3 owner, even expressed that his smartphone is his truly companion in life. The dependency people have on their smartphones truly shows how addicting these devices have become.

Opinion by Marcia Villavicencio

International Digital Times
Tech Radar
Noble Prize 

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